Charlie Crist Says Race Was Big Reason He Left GOP

Echoing sentiments he made a couple of months ago, Florida gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Crist says race was a big reason he chose to bolt the Republican Party.

Crist sat down with Fusion TV on Tuesday and said the GOP's hostile treatment of President Obama was a big reason he decided to switch parties.

Crist made similar comments in February, when he appeared on the Colbert Report.

See also: Charlie Crist Formally Endorses Obama, Blasts GOP

Crist told Fusion's Jorge Ramos that the GOP is generally seen as "anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-minority, and anti-gay."

"I couldn't be consistent with myself and my core beliefs and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president," Crist said. "I was a Republican, and I saw the activists and what they were doing; it was intolerable to me."

In February, Crist told Stephen Colbert that he was disturbed by the way Republicans treated Obama because the president is African-American.

"I've seen a level of vitriol directed at this president that I have never seen directed at, you know, President Kennedy or maybe President Johnson or even President Carter," Crist told Colbert.

The Republican response over his Fusion comments were similar to the response over his Colbert comments.

In an email response to Fusion, Republican National Committee spokeswoman Izzy Santa accused Crist of race-baiting.

"Being a flip-flopper is bad enough," the email statement says. "But playing the race card to win over voters is pitiful."

"Poor old Charlie Crist" Republican committeeman from Oakland Park Buddy Helland said about the Colbert interview in February. "It seems as if he's using every deceptive, deceitful kind of thing. I think that's high school stuff when people do the color thing. It's not just silly but I think it's disgusting for him to make a comment like that."

Crist did have nice things to say about former Florida Gov. and current Republican Guy Who Might Run for President Jeb Bush. Crist mainly praised Jeb's moderate approach, while subtly pointing out the GOP's seeming rejection of him over it.

"He would be a good president," Crist said of Jeb. "He understands what's happening in the party. He said himself not long ago, my father probably couldn't win a Republican primary today.' And then he took it one step further and said, 'Not even Ronald Reagan could win a Republican primary today with this Republican Party.'"

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph. Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph